Villain..? Victim..? or is Shylock someone even more intriguing?
SHYLOCK is one of only two Jewish men in the whole of Shakespeare. Throughout history, he has been portrayed in ways which reflected the way Jews were popularly viewed - from Comic Villain in Shakespeare's day to victim of racial discrimination nowadays. His has always been a controversial character, but to understand him, one needs to place him in the context of his situation.
In this poignant , powerful yet very humorous account, Shylock is explained to us through his (only) friend Tubal via a series of clever impersonations from Pontius Pilate to Edmund Kean, from Portia to Dracula. Leading us through the whole of Shylock's conundrum in The Merchant of Venice - giving a rousing rendition of all of Shylock's scenes and playing all the characters! - Tubal eaves us with a much deeper understanding of the issues that Jews have faced through history since the scriptures were written. And, perhaps even more importantly, and without preaching or teaching, the play spotlights the plight of any victimised minority.
Gareth Armstrong's Shylock is rightly one of the world's most successful solo shows, and here, Guy Masterson, perhaps the world's leading exponent of the form, demonstrates its brilliance, honouring one of Shakespeare's finest creations from one of his greatest plays in a performance that celebrates the beauty of language, the power of history and the magic of theatre!
"Shylock deserves to be packed out every show. It reflects the deepest love and understanding of Shakespeare's genius, and mixes us adeptly into the problems, pressures, traditions, censors prejudices and passions of Elizabethan theatre." (The Scotsman)
"Innovative, delightful, exceptional!" (The Independent)
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